‘Know Your Owners’ – West Ham’s Gold and Sullivan

With West Ham manager come missing link Gianfranco Zola criticizing new owner David Sullivan yesterday for revealing to the media that all staff at Upton Park will receive a pay cut next season regardless of the clubs eventual fortunes, now’s a good time to take a closer look at Sullivan and his partner in crime David Gold. Who are the new Baron’s of the Boleyn?

Born in Stepney, David Gold will be familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of the shifty world of football club ownership being, as he is, the former chairman of Birmingham City. In addition to looking like a cut price Alan Sugar impersonator crossed with a giant Yeti, Gold owns raunchy soft-core adult store chains Ann Summers and Knickerbox as well as Porno mag publishing company Gold Star. So far, so perfectly standard sketch comedy football club owner, but a genuine deep lying love of the game seems to reside under the 1980s sheepskin coated cockney wide boy done good cliché. In 2005 Gold bought the second ever produced and oldest surviving FA Cup trophy for £478,000 to, apparently, prevent the Cup falling into foreign hands after neither the FA nor the government took action. In a noble gesture befitting a man who runs a pornographic publishing company, Gold kept the FA Cup on display at Birmingham’s St Andrews ground throughout the season and it is now on loan to the National Football Museum in Deepdale Stadium as a permanent public attraction. As well as being a pornographer with a heart of…erm…Gold, David, and his family are ranked 178th on the Sunday Times Rich list and he has written an autobiography, imaginatively titled Pure Gold. Pukka!

Co-Owner and joint chairman David Sullivan couldn’t be more different being, as he is, a pornographer and former chairman of Birmingham City….Oh, hold on, what? Looking like a pit boss in a smokey back alley ‘private’ casino or a trainer in a cheaply produced British porn spin off of the Rocky movies (which, if it exists, he’s probably produced) Sullivan was born in Cardiff before moving to East London as a youngster. He began his career working in a petrol station before he started selling porn at the age of 21. In the late-seventies he produced a stream of low budget skin flicks including the criminally under appreciated Emmanuelle in Soho and the frankly epic Queen Kong: The Amazonian Woman. In the mid-eighties he owned the Daily and Sunday Sport papers, a sort of soft-core newspaper for people who don’t like news or reading, which he sold in 2007 for £40m. In addition to his affiliation with Birmingham City, he has furthered his contribution to the world of actual sport by owning several racehorses, one of which is, fittingly, now a top sire in Japan. A vocal life long fan of the Hammers he was once as high up as 68th on the rich list. Lovely Jubbly son!

All together now;

“We’ve got some half price cracked ice and miles and miles of carpet tiles, T.V.s, deep freeze and David Bowie L.P.s,

Ball games, gold chains, whatsnames, pictures frames and leather goods, And Trevor Francis track suits from a mush in Shepherds Bush,

Bush, bush, bush, bush, bush, bush, bush …”